Authorities at the University for Development Studies (UDS) are pushing for the establishment of a microbiology laboratory at the school to test samples from persons suspected to have contracted the deadly coronavirus in the country.
In a proposal to the Ministry of Health, Vice Chancellor said the Department of Biotechnology which currently runs molecular biology and biotech degrees to the PhD level, has the capacity to test covid-19 samples.
Health officials in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West regions currently depend on the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research to test covid-19 samples collected from persons in the areas.
The university said it has “seasoned researchers” in the field of biotechnology and molecular biology that can be harnessed to run such state of the art laboratory.
“The advantage of the UDS over the other institutions in the north is that it has already acquired a number of molecular diagnostic equipment through research grants and the University.
It mentioned the equipment totaling 174,500 cedis as Real Time PCR machine, laboratory freezer, laboratory fridge, autoclave, vortex machine, laboratory glassware, 3 sets of micropipettes, analytical balance, and 20 ft container.
The two 20-ft containers, the University said, are purposed to be converted into a laboratory in the interim for high quality research while it awaits a grant that can establish a permanent structure for the lab.
Also, the university said it has quite a number of international collaborators from Europe and America who are willing to partner and help with their expertise in the establishment of such state of the art lab with biosafety level 3.
Such facility, it said, will help in detecting the covid-19 virus across the five regions of the north.
“This will greatly improve management of the pandemic in terms of timely research output of staffs and institution and improve the University’s service to society. In addition establishment of the BSL-3 will boost Ghana and the sub region’s capacity for handling the pandemics in the future,” the proposal said.
An estimated 521,090 cedis (91.000 dollars) will be required to set up the lab, it said.
A microbiologist at University’s Nyankpala Campus, Dr Courage K.S. Saba told 3news.com that the University has the needed equipment for covid-19 test and once “we are approved to test, we will help reduce the pressure on the Noguchi Memorial Center and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research”.
Dr Saba said it is time the Savannah area got a Biosafety Research Centre as the outbreak of infections is inevitable.
“It is high time Ghana got another research centre especially in the northern part aside KCCR so it is good to resource this laboratory”.
By Zubaida Ismail|3news.com|Ghana